For the past six months I’ve been using Neural DSP plugins for everything guitar/bass related. I’m biased so take that into account as well.
I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years now. I always loved guitar technology, so I invested time and money into modelers from early on.
I’ve used the Line 6 POD, a Marshall JVM 50w, a Peavey 5150 combo, a Victory Kraken with a Torpedo Captor, an Axe Fx Ultra, an Ampli-Fire 3 and several plugins, including Line 6 Helix Native, Mercurial, LePou, etc. IRs companies? Honestly, I’ve tried them all.
After getting my first Neural plugin (Nolly), I sold everything I had from hardware stuff. I mean it. Everything is gone. I only have a midi keyboard, my audio interface and my studio monitors. After that I got Nameless and Cali. It was over then, after minimal tweaking I was getting my best tones by far. I don’t even use IRs anymore, Nolly has done an incredible job with the cab section of all Neural plugins.
Recently I also got the Wong, Gojira and Plini Archetypes. I have a -20% discount as a Neural customer and I combined that with the Black Friday sale.
Keep in mind that I don’t play live anymore and I’ll never do it again probably. I don’t need hardware to make music, but if I had to, I would get the Quad Cortex and call it a day. The responsiveness of the amp sims is incredible, the knobs react as the real amps’ and they’re mix ready with minimal tweaking.
Yes, they are expensive, I give you that. But I hated tweaking and using 5 different EQs just so I can get a decent tone. Now I don’t have to do that anymore, I just double click the icon and play.
The Nolly 5150 reacts like my old 5150, the modded Marshall is very similar with the crunch channel of the JVM. The Nameless is an evil modded Plexi and can get a lot of tones, aggressive and milder ones. The Cali can go from SRV to modern 7-string metal. You can’t go wrong with these, just use the trial and try to play with a decent audio interface/monitor setup, huge part of the experience is there.